Relationships Renewed Divorced Dad Daren

Hey guys, it’s TH here and I’m flying solo today, but not really solo.

I have a great guy here who’s going to add a bunch of perspective to a lot of different topics that come up when we’re talking about divorce.

We are not man haters here at exEXPERTS.


We actually love all the good guys.

We also appreciate a man’s perspective.

We may act like know it alls sometimes, but we clearly are not.

There are three sides to every story, her side, his side and the truth.

So we invited someone who can offer a different perspective to the divorce etcetera podcast and join 2 girls on our perspectives and this on this show.


We’re actually going to focus on Father’s Day.

We’re the ex experts TH and Jessica.

We help you navigate your divorce and successfully move on with your life.

Let’s bring in today’s guest, so welcome Darren Douglas, who we have been following on Instagram for a very long time.


I think you were still a manager at Amazon and then you made a shift.

So why don’t you introduce yourself to everybody at X Experts?

Hey TH and everyone, my name is Darren Douglas and I am a life coach for divorce recovery.


I just started a community called Relationships Renewed that’s focused on rebuilding your life after divorce or even during divorce because you want to start as early as possible to create a life of more purpose, passion and fulfillment with a group of people do in different stages just doing the same thing.


And it’s some it’s been a passion project that I’ve been working on for years now and it’s finally just come to fruition and I’m super excited about it.

I’m super excited to be here talking with you TH, and I’m glad I’m one of the good guys.

You are totally one of the good guys, so why don’t you give everybody a little bit of background about your own divorce experience?


Yeah, so I’ve been divorced for almost three years now.

The divorce started in 2020.

Actually, I was really when the separation started, I was between jobs, which is the stressor in the marriage.

And you can you read all those details, juicy details, I guess in the book that I published a couple years ago called The Husband’s Diary.


And that’s where my Instagram handle is named after the husband’s Diary because I truth, I truthfully and honestly identified as a husband, a father.

And during that period in 2020, especially during a pandemic when everyone’s life totally sucked, I was separated from my wife working in a in Cleveland, which is 2 hours away from We live where we live because of a job change.


You know, when I moved to Amazon and there were indicators that the marriage was terminating, you know, before that.

And that was like many different situations and circumstances leading up to that.

But during that year, I remember it was our 7th wedding anniversary where I was like, we need to fix our marriage.


And she said our marriage is over.

I was trying to plan a, an, an outing for our anniversary and she said, no, we’re not doing that.

We’re getting a divorce.

I said, OK.

It really devastated me and it devastates a lot of men in different ways.


And, and men have a tough time showing it.

I went into a depression.

I’ve never experienced depression in my life before, but I started taking steps towards healing.

That was certainly difficult during a pandemic when you weren’t, you know, you were really isolated from a lot of people, which is very healing.


And that’s what inspired me to create a virtual community is that is that you need people around you supportive and have, you know, have different wisdom on different topics.

And so I hired a life coach.


I was starting to work out and kept eating well and doing all these things that I want to share with the world, journaling and, and all the healthy habits that I, that I advocate starting like when you’re healthy before you need it, like when you’re going through a divorce, so that you have those things to rely on.


So Fast forward to August of 2021.

The divorce is final.

And while a divorce is final, you know, the emotions aren’t, you still have things to work through.

You still have things unpacked.

How do you go?


How do you even date?

Like how am I supposed to date in this condition?

Like how, you know, how am I supposed to be a single father?

So all those new challenges come into play, which can really be a stressor for a man and and a lot of bad things can come out for us when we’re in those circumstances.



I mean, you know, there are a ton of books out there, Hundreds, hundreds of books telling you how to do anything right, how to start a job, how to be a badass, how to lose weight, how to be better, how to be prettier, how to put on makeup, how to work out.


Everybody’s got the answer for you.

But don’t you find that the real answers are kind of just present themselves as you go along the way?

I mean, my story is different than your story and but our goal was the same, right?


To be able to move forward after trauma and divorce being that trauma.

I was thrilled to be out of my marriage.

It was a saving grace.

It was get out of jail free card.

However, I had three kids under 8 who were like, why are you being nice to dad?


And why isn’t he living in the house with us and what’s going on?

And then I was like, God, you know, this is my time to be free.

You guys are holding me back.

There’s there’s a lot that aligns with the goal forward, but there are a lot of people who we have to keep in mind as we get there.


So with Father’s Day quickly upon us, I really wanted to talk to you about how you think and what you’ve learned when you think back to your Father’s Day.

As you know, you can put in air quotes or not happily married, you know, couple and father.


So when you were together with your wife, what Father’s Day was like and then your first Father’s Day after your separation, Everybody says after the divorce, but it’s literally after your separation because the divorce takes forever.

I’m so happy for you guys that it took a year like holy, I took you four years.


So I, so I want you to really think about what you, how you’ve grown and your biggest lessons learned from when you were a dad, everybody together legally as a family, and then your first Father’s Day and now Fast forward to Father’s Day.


Now what are the differences and what, what you know, how have you grown from all of that to incorporate and celebrate Father’s Day?

What does it mean for you now for Father’s Day?

Well, if you’re going through divorce now and you’re a father, it’s hard to know, but you’re, you have an opportunity to be a better father than you’ve ever been.


And that’s something that I struggled with in my marriage.

I struggled with being a good enough father, you know, not really, you know, to, to, for my kids, but to, you know, meet her requirements.

So it was, it was an expectation that I thought I had fulfilled to be a good father and I was never meeting those expectations.


I felt like so I, I, I when my kids, so my kids, when I divorced, they were a couple.

It was a couple of years ago.

So my daughter was six, my son was four.

So they were pretty young.

I didn’t have very many father’s days under my belt.


And they honestly, they weren’t very meaningful.

It wasn’t, I can barely remember them to be honest with you.

I know it was like always a nice day because it’s in June, but that’s about it.

Like I remember, you know, hanging out with the in laws and, you know, her brothers and, and her dad and it was a nice day to hang out and we’d have lunch or whatever.


But I’ll tell you what, like now that I’m divorced and especially with the, with the partner that I have now, Father’s days are just getting better, better and better than I’ve ever imagined those the Father’s Day now compared to before just completely overshadows.


So and that’s why I essentially have kind of a tough time.

And that’s one thing that the healing will do, is that not only are you ending a relationship with your wife, but you’re ending a relationship with your wife’s family too, right?


Well, that’s a whole other.

That’s a whole other show.

Yeah, Yeah.

And that’s, and that’s essentially what my Father’s Day was like.

I spent a lot of time with her family and celebrating, you know, fathers on her side.

And that’s over now.

I remember, I think so the the Father’s Day when, you know, I was my first Father’s Day after the divorce or separation.


I was, I was by myself.

I was alone and I, I think I took the kids golfing or whatever and they were little.

So they just loved riding in the cart.

And it was a, it was a better Father’s Day.

And just remember, like you have fathers out there, you have an opportunity to be a, such a much better dad with the freedom that you have now.


I look at being a dad now as a journey on a journey with my kids because I’m still learning how to be a dad.

There’s different stages in life.

You know, my girlfriend now has a daughter who’s 10, and that’s a lot different than a daughter who’s eight.


I didn’t know that I’m working.

You know what I mean?

Just those two years.

And so give yourself compassion.

Give yourself the freedom to explore being a dad.

You’re going to make mistakes.


Tell your kids that you make mistakes.

I mean, I’ve told that’s a bonding experience.

I’ve told my daughter, hey, I screwed up.

I shouldn’t have done that.

How are you feeling those sorts of things?

And I’ve, you know, I’ve done, I’ve apologized to my son too.

I don’t know how much he realizes that being much younger than her, but there’s an opportunity for you to bond with your kids a lot deeper when you’re in a healthy relationship with yourself and when you’re in a healthy relationship with your new partner or whoever that is.


Like if you’re, I promise you, if this is your first Father’s Day after separation or divorce and you’re alone, that time is a gift.

That day is a gift.

Treat it like a gift.

Look at all the blessings that you have because it’s only going to get better.


It’s never, never going to be like the Father’s Day that you experienced in your marriage.

It’s going to be a million times better.

So you said before that you were worried about meeting your wife’s expectations as a father.

So now that you’ve been separated and divorced from her, her expectations, are they still things that you do aside from them being her expectations?


Like, I don’t know, whatever it was that she wanted you to do, that you were focused on doing, are those still priorities in your life because they were important things or had they fallen by the wayside?

Cause in the end they really weren’t that important.


Actually, so when it when it came down to those expectations, I don’t know if it was the expectations were unclear, but there was always judgement on what I was doing.

So to, to better clarify that I have the freedom to do things as a dad now without judgement.


So there, there were some sort of expectations there.

I didn’t know them.

So I’m, I, I get to do things with the freedom of no judgement, I guess is the better way to say it.

And that has just like, you know, been such a blessing to do, like to take the kids out on a golf course, you know, without, we don’t, you know, without wearing shoes or whatever.


Whereas, you know, who knows?

She might have been, why are you letting them go out there on the golf course without shoes?

Well, because it’s fun, you know what I mean?

Because we’re having fun.

It’s a blast.

We’re getting dirty those sorts of.


So there’s always there was always little jabs and and things that I did as a dad that I that I feel like we’re being judged.


We’re now, as I have the freedom to explore and do the things that be more of a kid with my kids, you know, and be playful with.

Them which is which sounds like it’s more authentically you anyway.

So I think you know, and this listen, everything that Darren’s saying here for all the ladies listening, this is for us too.


I mean, I, I always thought I was a good mom, but I know that I wasn’t a great mom, especially for my son, because the shit really hit the fan the last four years of our marriage, which was literally a minute after he was born.


Like that’s when it was clear that this is a shitstorm.

The rest of the time it was slow burn, whatever.

And I do look back and I there’s nothing I can do about it now.

But I know that I couldn’t be the same level mom that I was for my girls, for my son, because I wasn’t in a good place.


So when you say that you are a better dad, for me as being a better mom, I’ve learned to be present, which is so critical because you will miss stuff if you’re planning and thinking and this and that and the other thing.


And ladies, we are all fixers.

I really don’t know a lot of male fixers out there, but the women think that they we can fix you and change you.

And you know, if you just do this and you clean up and you wear a nice shirt or whatever it, it’s all superficial.

There’s no such thing as fixing.


But my one take away to be a better mom is is being present.

That has been a gift on both sides because as you said earlier, when you heal yourself, you are a better parent, but you’re also a better person in general.


That’s why you are able to be in a healthy relationship with the with your partner today is because you took the time for yourself.

So what’s the one thing for you that you think makes you a better dad now?

Like me being present makes me a better mom.


Oh my gosh.

DH, would you explain that story of when your when your son was born?

I went back to when my daughter was born and how how I was, how I lacked presence.

I remember when my daughter was born at the time, I had to go back to work, which I didn’t you know, I was working a corporate job for the railroad at the time and I didn’t have I didn’t I felt like I didn’t have any options.


And I know my ex-wife felt like I abandoned her by going back to work so early after the after, after my daughter’s birth.

And I just you know, I was torn inside.

Like I am trying my best to provide for the family, yet I have to leave the family.


And I don’t think she ever healed from that because, you know, I don’t talk to her much about it anymore.

But last time, if it comes up again, she would still tell me like, you know, about that abandonment right there going back to work.

And I was I was working like a nine to five.

So it wasn’t I wasn’t traveling or.


Anything right, But she might have those issues, she might just have abandonment issues that then, you know are, you know, deflected onto you.

Right, right, right.

So I’m, I’m trying my best and and similarly, when my son was born, I had to continue working.


It was at a period where, you know, all the fraternal benefits weren’t available to us, where, you know, men get six weeks off or eight weeks off or whatever.

So I was back to work pretty soon after that.

Now look at me, I don’t I like, and I don’t have a day job anymore.


And the main reason I quit my job was obvious.

So what top reason was to serve everyone in my community and start a new business.

But the top reason was to be able to have the freedom to spend more time with my kids.

So, you know, it’s funny and I hope everyone can relate to this.


Men and women like, look at me now, like I’m doing exactly what you wanted now.

I’m present, I have the time.

I’m doing the things with the kids that that I’ve been building into my life and I can’t wait till this summer because the Co parenting agreement changes a little bit.


The kids stay with me for a lot longer during the week.

We live 2 hours away and I’m going to take them to work with me like.

My work.

Is here, my work is at the coffee shop.

I started a new startup business that we’re going to drive around and and actually fuel people.


I deliver fuel to vehicles.

That’s a passion of mine and they’re going to be doing it with me.

So it’s a brand new business that I came up with and I did it because I want to spend time with my kids.

I want to have the freedom to do all these things.

And being a business owner is the it’s the hardest thing to do, but it’s the best thing to do for the family.


And, and, and listen, for anybody out there who doesn’t have that luxury, you’re still have the ability to be, you know, a great parent.

I think that if we go back to the idea of being present, it’s really quality over quantity.

My father traveled a lot when I was young.


I think I only saw him on Sunday nights for family dinner.

And he missed a lot, like a lot.

And I asked him recently if he could go back and change that.


Would he?

Because he spends a lot of time with my kids and my brother’s kids.

He comes to all of their games.

He does all of the things with them that he didn’t do as a father to us.

And he said, you know, I just wouldn’t be able to change it.

I had to work and my work took me away.


And that’s how you got to go to the school you went to and the trips that we went on and go out to dinner on Sunday nights.

So if you’re in that position, just know that spending half an hour one-on-one with your child is actually really great because kids can be a pain in the ass, by the way.


And 24/7, Darren, we’re going to check in with you in August and you’re like, all right, it’s time.

We’ve got it.

Love you guys, see you in a month.

But because that’s normal too.

It’s normal too, to want your own time.


So let’s talk about that.

How do you balance your time alone and your time with your kids?

Because obviously they’re, you know, paramount in our lives.

But carving out time for yourself is not an act of selfishness.


It’s an act of necessity.

And so before you met your partner and really got into the dating scene, did you have trouble?

Not being with your kids because now you were excited, now you have the time and you’ve got a space and you’ve got whatever.


How did you cope with being a dad and being on your own when you weren’t with your kids?

That was really difficult to swallow because I wanted to be a part of their morning routine, a part of their evening routine.

It was something that really, really wanted that I was identified with.


In between jobs, I, I was able to spend like 3 months with them as a stay at home dad, which was a great bonding experience.

But fast, you know, moving through the divorce, I realized the time I have without the kids is a blessing.

It’s a blessing to work on myself to be more present like you said with your kids.


And I, I love the fact that you mentioned quantity or quality over quantity because be present with your kids.

So if you are, you know, if you have the blessing of time without your kids, I call it a blessing.


It, I know it like it might be hard to swallow right now, but work on yourself, work on your passions, work on your business, work on your body, work on your mental state.

So when the kids show up, you’re ready for them, you’re ready to have fun, you’re ready to be present, you’re ready to do the thing, you’re ready to teach them.


You’re you’re ready to get them to school.

If you’re, I’m not fortunate enough to do that, but I’d love to someday because the kids go to school two hours away from me, so I’m not part of their school routine.

So if you have that ability to take them to school one or two days or pick them up from school one or two days a week, be present for that, you know, put that in your calendar as a non negotiable and work around those periods.


So yeah, spend those, you know, 1020 thirty minutes you can with them and be present with them because you’re working so hard by yourself and there’s you know, you’re working on healing, you’re working on rebuilding, you’re working on the things that bring you joy.


So when your tank it so your tank is full when you get to see the kids.


We’re going to pause here for a quick minute.

When Jess and I were getting divorced from our exes, we hope someone would take us by the hand and make sure we didn’t make any mistakes with our kids, dealing with our ex friends, dating, you name it.


So you’re in luck.

We created a divorce rule book for you.

We share what we wish we knew back then so you don’t make the same mistakes that we did.

If you want your copy, all you have to do is go to and it’s right there for you.


You don’t know what you don’t know, but the ex experts do.

So Darren, what about dating?

So you’ve separated from your wife.

You have these two little kids now.


Most of the women I know would say he got a hot piece of ass, he got a new car, he’s travelling, he’s never looked better.

It’s not fair.

So what’s your perspective on that?


Because that’s the ladies general perspective.

It’s not fair.

He’s already with somebody else, he already introduced the kids.

He’s going around like he’s king of the hill.

And I’m not saying every guy does this, so I’m not putting you in that bucket, but how does that statement make you feel?


And tell us your side of that statement.

So here’s what I tell my clients and it’s a really difficult truth and I think I even made a real about it today is it’s none of your business anymore.

The reason I say that is because if you’re thinking about what he’s doing, you’re not present.


You’re not with your kids, you’re not focusing on yourself.

The only thing you can control is how you how you move forward right now.

And that’s a really tough thing to swallow for a lot of people because especially after a divorce and you know, no matter how long the marriage is, it’s a habit for you to think of them.


So in our brain, they’re an imprint and they’re permanent.

And after a divorce, just because we signed the papers doesn’t mean you’re not thinking of them.

So what we have to do is focus on rethink our thoughts so that we have more, more positive, more influential towards ourselves, emotions that actually get us where we’re going.


Now, men have the same perspective.

Like, look what she’s doing.

Like, I can’t believe she’s doing this.

She’s bringing men around kids like, Oh my God.

And I’ll tell you, we have the same thoughts.

It’s not and it’s it’s nothing.


It’s, it’s not men or women.

I mean, we’re, we’re all human and we’re all thinking about our exes when we sign their divorce papers and what’s going to happen next.

So it’s a human fault like that.

We’re habitually thinking about those people.

And when they leave our lives, we’re still thinking about those people.


It’s not a switch.

It takes work to get over that.

And I want to like reiterate, as long as the kids are safe, it’s really not your business.

Keep up with the kids, keep up, make sure the kids are safe.

It’s your responsibility to ensure the kids are safe.


However, when we’re focusing on what our ex is doing, we’re not focusing on our own growth, our own healing and those sorts of things.

Now, that said, I got the cool truck, you know, I went dating, I did all those things, I got the tattoos.


I just made a real about that.

I did all those things as part of my healing process.

So don’t look at your ex’s healing process and what they’re doing and compare yourself to them.

You know, comparison is the enemy of happiness, right?

So be present with yourself.


You’re going to have those thoughts like it’s, I’m not saying they’re bad, I’m not saying they’re wrong, but what I’m saying is focus on your own healing.

Focus on the children and how you can rebuild with more purpose and passion.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but the sooner you do it, the more freedom you have to live your life to meet new people, to start a new job, to start a new passion, to take the kids on a trip and to live that life that you wanted.


Now you’re free to do that.

Don’t be shackled by those thoughts about what your ex is doing.

I I love that statement.

It’s like so obvious.

It’s really none of your freaking business.

It’s really not.

And it does work both ways and and you know both ways is also it’s not fair.


It’s not fair this it’s not fair that I’m sure you know you want mommy, but daddy has a great house.

I mean it’s so back and forth.

So do you and your ex use Co parenting apps and have they worked for you if you have?

No, we don’t.


We communicate via text message and that’s worked for us.

Now there’s I I have many clients that use the parenting wizard or our family.


Yeah, which which is great.

That makes sense.


But I, there’s also some coaching that, that, that we have to let go of there because they can still push your buttons in our family wizard, whether it’s a text message or an app.

So, and that’s, that’s really what I help people do is communicating.


Focus on the, on, on the, it, focus on the, it’s like a business, right?

Let’s raise our kids with love.

Everything else doesn’t matter.

All those, all those jabs that they’re poking, like, you know, I know it’s hard to say.


And I have a process for that inside my community that I can help you with, but ignore everything, but accept that nugget that the kids need to be dropped off at this place by 5:00 PM.

Like that’s all you need to know.

They don’t care about what you know.

It doesn’t matter What Car you, you take them in.


It doesn’t matter like who’s in the car with them.

Like stop all that focus on the children and and there’s techniques you can use that Ioffer coaching on that can help you move forward peacefully and and just have that relationship established where we’re focused on the children and none of that other nonsense matters.


I I do not communicate with my ex.

We literally communicated through lawyers through our very difficult divorce process.

We didn’t have Co parenting apps back then, but I was I have a special acts and there’s very little in the way of communication as because I needed boundaries.


So I learned very early on that any interaction with him is a business transaction.

I would schedule a call, I would create an agenda.

I would literally read it to safeguard myself from triggers and, you know, turn off notifications if he’s texting me incessantly.


All of those things.

And, and my biggest lesson that my therapist helped me with was deciphering noise from fact, which is exactly what you touched on.

So just stick to the facts and all of the song and dance around it is song and dance.


And so you’re not getting into a song and dance with your ex.

Just get to the time, the place, the birthday party, the address, that’s it.

And I like the Co parenting app because you can put the IT that stuff in the calendar and then I don’t have to have a business call about it.


It’s in the app.

So I do like it for that reason.

So if you are in a more contentious situation like I was in, I do encourage the app because the text messaging could get out of control.

But you know best.

So we are going to wrap this up and I want you to share with everybody what you wish you knew.


That is your best piece of advice that you want to share about you going through this journey.

And it can be directly about the divorce.

It could be anything.

And, and my example is what I wish I knew was that my, my gut could be trusted, that my gut was honest.


And the only thing preventing me from listening to it was fear and unknown and lack of knowledge.

And so that’s why we created X experts, because once you have knowledge, it really is power.

And then you then you can feel more comfortable in your decisions and your choices because you’re educating yourself.


So that’s mine.

I hope it wasn’t yours ’cause then I just stole it.

But yeah, trust my gut is my biggest what I wish I knew.

And I really do listen to my gut ever since.

So what is yours?

Well TH mine was close because my intuition I didn’t trust at the time and I wish I would have.


However, if I didn’t trust my intuition I wouldn’t have that experience those lessons in the kids.

So that is one of them.

But the first thing that I thought of when you asked me that question was that dream life that you had envisioned as a kid is can it, it can happen now.


You can make it a reality.


You, you knew at some point, your intuition told you at some point that this relationship is not going to work out, that this dream life is not going to work out this plan you had envisioned.


It’s not going to work out.

So you had to go through that pain and the suffering of the of even in the relationship itself and through the divorce to break free that life.

Like you needed that lesson to build that life of passion, purpose and prosperity.


You have the freedom to do that now.

I know it might be hard to see, especially in the beginning, but that’s why I created Relationships Renewed to give people the tools that they’ll need because it’s going to take some work to build that life they had always dreamed of.


The life that they had dreamed of that wasn’t coming to fruition in their marriage, and they knew it wasn’t coming to fruition in their marriage.

You have a gift now and you have that freedom and you have that desire to make it a reality.

Now is the time to do it.


Prove to your kids that you’re a better father.

You’re better mother by yourself.

And This is why because I’m going to live my life passionately.

I’m going to live my life present and I’m going to do the things that bring me joy in my career, in my parenting, and in the new relationships that I encounter.


Like you have an opportunity now, even if you don’t see it, It’s here.

And now’s the time to create that that prosperous life.

I mean, don’t you think that?

I mean, I know for me, when I got married, you know, I married the guy who is in finance.


And we lived in the town and we had the thing and it looked like this.

And we belong to the club.

And it was really nothing about the way I felt.

It was all about what we had.

And am I following the right path?

OK, We’re married five years now.

We should think about kids.


It was all about following a plan.

And so you talk about your dream life.

My dream life was really according to a plan that others kind of laid out for me that I took ownership of.

And and since then, my dream life has nothing to do with where I live, what I have, what he does or what she does, you know, depending on what side you’re on.


I mean, the man who is my forever man who I’m with now did not a single filter on my dating app except that he was divorced with kids, nothing like not a single one and everybody’s so you know this and checking off this box and that box and the other thing and and he is my most perfect match.


So I want to take what Darren said and just remind you that it’s about the way you feel, not about what you have.

It’s about the way you act and not about the way other people see you.

It’s about how you feel on the inside and your ability to sleep at night than anything else ’cause that means that you are in a place of peace.


And we always say divorce is a gift.

Divorce sucks.

It sucks, the process sucks.

It sucks for the kids, it sucks for everybody.

But this is your chance to write it differently and to make a different story for yourself.


When do you ever get to do that?

Probably never.

So if you enjoyed this episode of Divorce Etcetera with TH Today, please help 2 Girls out.

It only takes a minute to subscribe, rate and review our podcast and it actually really helps us and other people like you that are dealing with divorce.


For more about Darren and his programs and all the other things that he does with coaching, check out the show notes and of course, share this episode with anyone you know who can benefit from listening.

Have a great day.

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